Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quote du Jour (Religion Department)

I'm pulling a quote from an article posted on a National Catholic Register blog. I found Matthew Warner's post,"The Catholic Church Is out of Control..." remarkable for several reasons, beginning with the first word: "They."

Now I readily admit that I, too, have a lot of trouble with pronouns, but that's because I still consider myself a Jew by identity. Depending on conversational content, I can't always muster a "we" when talking about Catholics. But that's not the most remarkable aspect of Warner's post. I'm surprised by the fervor with which he makes a case for 21st century conversation, transparency, and authenticity.

Should come as no surprise to any of my readers that I am passionate about the importance and value of using social media to communicate church and faith. I view social media as an unexpected and democratizing phenomenon in the form of technology, which is why I'm pulling this quote:

Yet, we [the Roman Catholic church] still have a lot of leadership who think that PR stands for Press Release and that “opting out” of the social web is the “safe thing to do.” It’s not safe at all. It’s perilous.

They worry that if they open up comments on their website or start a Facebook page or open up online communities where people can express themselves within a church forum, that somebody might say something mean. Or theologically incorrect. Or hateful. Or *gasp* something about how there are sinners in the Church.

Guess what? They are already saying those things. Every day. Every where. The problem right now is that the Church is largely not a part of the conversation—because it chooses not to be. So whatever control it could have, it foregoes.

Those challenging conversations are going to happen, just as they always have. The question for the Church is do we want to be a part of the conversation? And the answer is that we have a moral obligation to be.

─ Matthew Warner